Some districts to welcome elementary students back for in-person learning

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Tuesday, some Minnesota school districts will be welcoming back elementary students for in-person learning.

It’s the first week students are allowed back under the latest COVID-19 restrictions implemented by Gov. Tim Walz.

Though the return to class is not without concern, schools are taking precautions.

From the start of the pandemic, school and state leaders have made it clear that they’ll do everything they can to get kids back into school.

For the safety of staff and families that hasn’t always been possible, but Walz said he feels the state is in a good place to try and end the year with the youngest learners in school.

There are plans in place to do this safely. It’s strongly recommended that all school staff wear both a face mask and face shield. Those will be provided by the school. Educators will also have access to optional COVID testing every other week.

Students will also continue to be required to wear face masks.

Tuesday, most of the districts reopening are welcoming back kindergarten through second grade students.

White Bear Lake, Osseo-Maple Grove, South Washington County, Minnetonka, and the state’s largest school district—Anoka-Hennepin—are among the districts returning to this learning model under new state guidelines.

Although educators say this is definitely an exciting time, they also hope the return is done cautiously.

“Undoubtedly, we all want the highest quality educational experiences for our students, to ensure that, amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, we absolutely must build sustainable solutions,” teacher Tiffany Dittrich said. “If we rush to bring students back while the virus rages in the community, our schools won’t be open for very long.”

The rolling start puts a focus on bringing the youngest students back first, with older elementary students coming back in a few weeks after districts see how this goes.

For families and staff that do not feel comfortable heading back in the classroom, the state is requiring schools to have a plan for students to learn from home and staff to work from home if needed.

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